Simple solutions not simple minds - Starpack Awards 2009

24 Sep 2009

Simplicity ruled at Starpack 2009, the longest running and most prestigious UK packaging awards, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in style with a gala dinner and award ceremony at the Birmingham NEC on September 30.

Organised by The Packaging Society, categories included Technical Innovation, Environment, Design and Marketing, Logistic Solutions and the newly introduced Machinery Excellence Award. Star turns accentuated how far the sector has come in answering some of today's critical questions on climate change and consumer convenience.

And while simplicity was the key to many solutions, successful entrants also brought pizzazz to the occasion with some technically excellent and inspiring up-market designs.

Taking place during the PPMA Show 2009, the down turn in the economy had no effect on the innovative bent of the packaging supply chain with 64 winners of Gold, Silver and Bronze Stars, plus commended certificates, from some 200 entries across 16 categories.

Judges were excited by the quality and number of entrants and the ability of many to avoid the trap of producing 'clever packs' just for the sake of it. Head judge Tony Wood, former director, Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association, said, 'I was impressed by the number of entries that went back to basics. Many entrants allowed the pack to function and deliver brand requirements through good graphics and eye catching design.

'Sensibly many entrants were trying to be 'innovative' by using the materials and processes they have to best effect within the cost constraints that undoubtedly exist.'

Design and Marketing Performance

A beautiful and technically outstanding bottle for Bloom, an upmarket aromatic gin from Greenall, took a Gold Star in the Luxury Product Category and the Designer of the Year Award for design house Drinks Works and bottle manufacturer Allied Glass Containers.  

The sleek jewel-cut bottle is 'stunning, elegant and luxurious' decorated with intricate lattice patterns and flowering vines. Accentuating the premium quality of Bloom, the black lattice pattern embossed on the tall, sleek bottle has a level of intricacy usually reserved for printed labels.

Two Gold Stars - Brand Design and Household Design - went to a billion dollar brand for its eco makeover with StudioDavis winning for its stylish Ariel Excel Gel Structural Pack. Designed with the Procter & Gamble WE Design Team, the judges said, 'Packaging doesn't get any better than this.'

Innovative, distinctive and compact, the Pebble Pack for Ariel Excel Gel underlines the importance major brand owners are placing on reducing both packaging and its contents.  

A PP dosing cap that can be removed from the body of the pack and an integrated 'visi-strip' provide consumer friendliness, while the pack has created a modern and iconic silhouette with a sense of compactness, said the judges.  Also Bronze Star - Designer of the Year.

Simplicity was the key to the Gold Star winner in the Food Design Category. Won by Pure Equator for its new range of kids organic and Fairtrade chocolate - My World Chocolate Buttons - the paper-based pack features illustrations from artist Lucy Loveheart.

My World, it is the brainchild of design agency Pure Equator's managing director David Rogers who want to create a children's lifestyle brand which stimulated children in inventive way. It is backed by a website with games and competitions. The recycled paperboard packaging is produced by Bedford-based New Vision Packaging.

Jack Daniels' perforated tin tantalised judges in the Drinks Design Category, sponsored by Packaging Today. Manufactured by Crown Speciality Packaging, the judges awarded Gold for 'a technically excellent design featuring a new perforation process giving the consumer a glimpse of the bottle inside'.

The part vertical perforation of the body side-wall features 9,000 perforations running from top to bottom. Just 50% of the container is perforated giving the consumer a peek at the bottle inside while also providing an ideal background for quality black print on the metallic surface. The outward-curling lid is fitted using special piping on the lid and body wall.  Also Silver Star - Designer of Year.

Technical Innovation - Environment

Simplicity and what was described as 'a lovely piece of structural and graphic packaging design' walked away with both the Sponsor Award and Gold Star in overall sponsor WRAP's Environmental Developments Category. To meet Green and Black's directive to produce 'a plastic free Easter', Chesapeake and design house Pearlfisher came up with a bag-shaped carton which did away with the need for a plastic fitment to hold each egg in place.

The design provides a 60% packaging weight reduction by removing the need for additional vacuum formed fitments, while creating excellent shelf impact. 

Sponsor Award winner and the Gold Star in WRAP's Environmental Optimisation Category went to an easy-open transit/retail display pack for Mars Chocolate from DS Smith Packaging which, said the judges, 'goes someway to negating charges that RRP is intrinsically over packaging'.

It saves £194,000 in logistics, 301,000kg of packaging weight and removes 207 lorry movements a year compared with the previous pack.

Logistic Packaging Solutions

From RRP to heavy duty systems - three gold stars were awarded.

Leading light of the awards was Saica Pack which took Best in Show plus a Gold Star in the Retail Ready Display and Collation Category with its clever development for International Greetings. Praised for its high integrity, strength and excellent point-of-sale credentials, the pallet display has already increased sales into Costco, US.

The cost-effective cell-like solution for wrapping paper provides an easy to assemble unit with generic internal components that slot together to form compartments to stop the packs falling forward as the product is sold. The internal fitments lock on to the main body to brace the unit.  The dividers split the unit front to back and can be removed easily by the retailer to aid display. Solid board edge protectors are also supplied.

Thanks to the cell-like construction components can be made from 'BC' or 'C' flute corrugated board reducing costs to £9.35 per unit. 

In the Business to Consumer Category sponsored by Alcan Packaging, inspirepac was awarded the Gold Star for a multi-functional pack which demonstrated excellent ergonomics and precision engineering. Developed for bicycle parts, the cleverly constructed single-piece concept is made from recyclable board, and features generic integral fitting that can be used for 41 different products such as handle bar stems and cycle hubs, greatly reducing stock holdings.

In the Business to Business Category, Gold went to DS Smith Packaging Tri-Wall for a heavy duty system for Land Rover Engine Parts.

Designed to protect a heavy, yet delicate product, using minimal material the pack is used to ship three Land Rover engines across rough terrain overseas. Key requirements were to improve environmental sustainability, while reducing packaging costs and maximising the cube efficiency within the shipping container. This included being able to double stack in transit giving a weight in excess of 1,000kg.

Machinery Award of Excellence

New for 2009, this PPMA -sponsored award was designed to 'square the circle' in Starpack's representation of all packaging disciplines. 

Gold Star was awarded to Kliklok International for it Celox end-load cartoner. Representing a detailed response to researched customer requirements, its modular design allows custom configuration and ease of integration in plant layouts. It is now being used by a number of major food manufacturers including United Biscuits, Findus, and Kerry Foods.

The judges were impressed by attention to detail, exemplified by the accessory rail mounting system that allows coders, vision systems and other ancillary items to be mounted without drilling the frame.

Carton feeding, erection and placement incorporate servo motion profiling for different cartons allowing even older stock, warped cartons to be handled effectively. Five crease sleeves can also be run on the machine.

  • Starpack 2009 Sponsors and supporters: Waste & Resources Action Programme - overall sponsor; Alcan Packaging Cumbria, a business unit of Alcan Packaging - Food Europe - Gold Sponsor; Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining; PIABC; Accipio Training and Development; PPMA - Processing and Packaging Machinery Association. SUPPORTERS: MPMA - Metal Packaging and Manufacturers Association; Warners (Midland); World Packaging Organisation; The Packaging Professional; Packaging Today; Reed Exhibitions & PPMA Show 09. TROPHY DESIGN: Webb Scarlett deVlam.


Further information

Full winners' details including photographs and judges' comments

Starpack Awards

The Packaging Society 

300dpi jpegs of all winning packs available from